Best French Restaurant - 2012
In 2012, it's hard to imagine the effect that dishes like boeuf bourguignon and ratatouille first had on Americans. How foreign it all seemed! How sophisticated the flavors! Now French cuisine has assimilated so thoroughly into American bistro fare that we barely remember the vinaigrette on our salads used to be called French dressing. But Cafe Jacqueline, a restaurant that has been around since Julia Child's heyday, retains a sense of culture shock. While Jacqueline Margulis incorporates ingredients like cilantro and white corn into her souffles, the restaurant's Gallic purity remains austere. You order a watercress salad, and you receive a tangle of watercress, with a perfect French dressing, and no more. You want an entrée, you order a soufflé (you want a dessert, you order a soufflé, too). Soufflés are impractical for contemporary French restaurants to make. They demand close attention, and patience, and quiet ovens. They stay inflated for just a few minutes afterward, and dissolve on contact with your lips. Dare we call them exotic? We might. Go eat one before Margulis finally retires.